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What Are The Most Prestigious Companies To Work For?

Landing a job at a prestigious firm in your industry could set you up for success throughout the rest of your career, so what are the most prestigious companies to work for?

Wed Aug 23 2023

If you’re an ambitious business school student considering life after graduation, deciding which companies to apply for can be a challenge. 

Whether you aspire to be an investment banker or a management consultant, there are many things you need to consider when deciding your target companies after you graduate from your MBA or business master’s. 

Key factors include your future progression opportunities, the salary and benefits on offer, work-life balance, and company culture. Also important is company prestige —few things can have as large a career impact as having a name like ‘McKinsey’ or ‘Goldman Sachs’ on your resume. 

So which companies hold the most weight in their respective industries? What are the most prestigious companies to work for? 

Each year, careers platform Vault, ranks the most prestigious companies to work for across key graduate industries including consulting, investment banking, and accounting. 

To find the five most prestigious companies to work for in each industry, BusinessBecause delved into the lists for 2023.  

 5 Most Prestigious Accounting Firms

As of 2022, 88% of audits of large-scale, publicly traded companies in the US were conducted by the Big Four accounting and professional services firms. It comes as little shock, then, that Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG each rank among the top five most prestigious accounting firms to work for after graduating from business school. 

Outside of the Big Four, there are many firms who conduct accountancy practices on a smaller scale. The most prestigious of these firms, according to Vault, is Grant Thornton. 

Ranked fifth in 2023, Grant Thornton operates out of 53 offices across the globe. It began as an offshoot of EY in 1924 and has since gone on to become a prestigious employer of talent, renowned for a strong work-life balance offer. 

Next in the list is KPMG. Ranked as the fourth most prestigious accounting firm—and therefore the least prestigious of the Big Four, according to Vault—KPMG employs more than 35,000 people in more...

0 locations in the US alone. 

The firm is split across audit, tax, and advisory divisions, meaning there are opportunities for b-school grads with diverse expertise. KPMG clients include some of the world’s largest Fortune 500 companies operating across many industries. 

EY has a similarly reputable client base, which helps to earn it a spot in the Vault ranking as the third most prestigious accounting firm. EY specializes in a number of industries, including consumer goods, finance, real estate, bioscience, media, and technology. 

A top employer with a headcount of more than 360,000 in 2022, EY hires thousands of business school grads each year. 

PwC also has more than 300,000 staff operating worldwide. Ranked second in the list by Vault, the firm boasts not only a prestigious name, but a progressive reputation as a leader in areas such as corporate social responsibility and diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

In 2023, the title of the most prestigious accounting firm to work for falls to Deloitte. The firm, which boasts a client base comprising around 90% of Fortune 500 firms and more than 7,000 private companies, has one of the strongest names in employment areas including accounting, audit, and consulting. 

Deloitte operates in more than 20 sectors, meaning business school grads who land a job with the distinguished firm can gain a diverse experience with opportunities to specialize as they progress. 

5 Most Prestigious Investment Banks

If you’re looking to launch a high-flying career in investment banking, earning mouth-watering salaries while putting in exceptional numbers of hours, one of the most prestigious firms you can choose is Centreview Partners.

Listed as the fifth most prestigious investment bank by Vault, Centreview is a top firm renowned for its work in mergers & acquisitions (M&A) and restructuring. 

Since being founded in 2006, Centreview has developed a client list that includes 20% of the world’s 50 largest companies. Today, employees highlight its strong career development offering and competitive compensation packages. 

Evercore is ranked fourth in Vault’s list of the most prestigious investment banks for 2023. Another top firm that operates primarily in the M&A and restructuring space, Evercore is home to nearly 2000 employees who work on deals for top clients including the likes of Verizon and General Electric. 

As well as a highly reputable name, Evercore has a reputation for a strong formal training offering, particularly for interns and junior bankers. 

Coming in third in the Vault ranking is JP Morgan. One of the most recognizable names on Wall Street and a top financial company around the world, JP Morgan operates largely across M&A, debt and equity markets, and corporate financial advisory. 

It is also a leader in progressive hiring, 49% of recent hires have been women, according to Vault, while 58% of hires in the US are from diverse backgrounds. With more than 250,000 global employees, JP Morgan is a top destination for business school grads. 

Another top name on Wall Street, Morgan Stanley is the second most prestigious investment bank you could land a job with after graduation. Employing more than 70,000 staff around the world, the firm is split across three divisions: Wealth Management, Institutional Securities, and Investment Management, each of which offers opportunities for b-school grads to work in a range of areas. 

Top of the most prestigious investment banks to work for in 2023 is Goldman Sachs, according to Vault. With offices in major hubs including New York, London, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, there are opportunities to join the firm across the globe, however the firm’s distinguished name means it is also highly competitive. 

Insiders at Goldman note the long hours that come with working for the firm, alongside the steep learning curve that occurs after first being hired. However it’s a company that’s full of highly talented individuals, boasting strong career development opportunities and competitive compensation. 

5 Most Prestigious Consulting Firms 

Every year consulting tops the list of industries that business school students most want to enter after graduation. Offering huge starting salaries and bonuses, alongside the opportunity to travel and work on diverse projects, it’s clear to see why. 

Like accounting, consulting is dominated by a select few names: the Big Three firms of McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company, and Boston Consulting Group (BCG). However there are also a plethora of boutique consultancies around the world and many of the world’s top accounting firms have consulting arms that provide services to high-profile clients. 

EY-Parthenon is one of those arms. An offshoot of EY, the firm provides strategy consulting services from its 700 offices worldwide. With more than 9000 employees, EY-Parthenon advise executives and c-suite level clients across various sectors. 

Joining EY-Parthenon means adding a highly prestigious name to your resume while also entering into a lauded culture that’s based on people who are both smart and nice, according to Vault. 

A firm that operates in a similar way: Deloitte Consulting is the fourth most prestigious consulting firm to work for. The company has more than 85,000 professionals providing advisory services to clients. Key focus areas include strategy, operations, and implementation. 

Alongside the company’s prestige, Deloitte Consulting can also offer highly valuable job stability as its size and client base mean the company is able to operate in even the harshest of economic climates. 

Third in the 2023 Vault list—and therefore the least prestigious of the Big Three consultancies—is Bain. Operating out of 39 countries, Bain provides consultancy services to many of the world’s largest companies and boasts the highest level of client advocacy throughout the industry. 

As well as providing the kind of prestige that will open doors for the rest of your life, Bain is also renowned for its employee-focus. The Bain culture that values your morale is not something that’s always present throughout the consulting industry and has led to it being voted the best consulting firm to work for in the past.

Coming in ahead of Bain is BCG. Present in over 50 countries and employing more than 22,000 staff, the top MBB firm works with a similarly distinguished list of clients. 

Founded by a Harvard Business School grad in 1963, BCG sets the benchmark for consulting salaries, according to Vault. Insiders also note the ethically-driven approach to company culture, ensuring future prospects for new hires at the firm look positive.

It should come as no surprise that McKinsey ranks top of the list of the most prestigious consulting firms. Operating in areas including strategy, organization, operations, and technology, the firm’s clients extend from around 90% of Fortune 100 companies to international governments. 

A top MBA employer, McKinsey appears popular with company insiders, according to Vault. While posing the typical complaints about hours, they also highlight the firm’s strong compensation, training, and exit opportunities. 

For more information on how to launch your career in one of these key industries, including free advice from b-school careers experts, download our BusinessBecause Careers Guide: What's Next After Business School?